There are very few secrets between the Red Wings and Blackhawks. They play each other 6 times a year. They met in the Conference Finals in 2008. Both teams feature players that formerly played for the other side. They will only become more familiar with each other over the next couple of weeks. The Wings wrap up their season with a home and home against Chicago on April 8th and 10th, and as it stands right now would be facing them in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Red Wings 2 Blackhawks 3 (OT)
This really did have a playoff-type feel. Similar to the Vancouver game last week, it was two very good teams competing at a high level.
That’s why it is so unfortunate that the officiating played such a large part in the outcome of the game.
Those who know me know that I will try my hardest to defend the officials on a game-to-game basis, because as a referee myself I pick up on things on the ice from a referee’s point of view. A lot of times, fans don’t see things the same way, and even though the referee is making the right call, it doesn’t sit well with the home fans.
Tonight, some of the calls made by the referees were absolutely inexcusable.
It started just 5:17 into the contest with the major elbowing penalty handed out to Todd Bertuzzi. As he was roaring in for the hit on Ryan Johnson, I was so excited that he was finally going to make a hit. Then, at nearly the same time, Johnson tried to duck out of the way, and Bertuzzi raised his arm and elbow up. The two connected squarely and resulted in Johnson dropping to the ice.
It is 100% Bertuzzi’s responsibility as the player throwing the hit to not make contact with his elbows, especially to a players head. That being said, it should have only been a two minute minor for elbowing, not a major and a game misconduct. To assess a major and game misconduct, there must be an apparent injury or an obvious attempt to injure. This play had neither.
The Wings were able to successfully kill of the entire 5 minute major, and actually scored a goal during it, with the help of two Chicago minor penalties.
The goal, scored by Lidstrom, tied the score at 1. The Blackhawks had taken the lead on, would you know it, a missed call. Kris Draper was tripped up at the blue line, and with no penalty forthcoming, the Hawks roared in and beat MacDonald.
Ten minutes later, Darren Helm was sent off for tripping on an almost identical play. 10 seconds later, the Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead.
There was a play in the third period where Henrik Zetterberg chipped the puck past Duncan Keith and was then blatantly interfered with by Duncan Keith. It was strikingly similar to the Jonathan Ericsson penalty, also in the third period.
The Henrik Zetterberg hooking penalty with 0:03 left in regulation looked like a good call from my seat in section 217A, but I know others who were watching it on TV and have access to replays of the incident were less impressed with the call.
All in all a disappointing effort from the NHL appointed officials to put a damper on an otherwise very good hockey game.
The Off Wing View’s Three Stars
3. Joey MacDonald 39 saves – I really hope that we get him resigned, because he has definitely earned it
2. Jonthan Toews 1G – Very, very impressive effort for the Hawks captain. He plays far better than his listed age. Hard to believe he’s only 22.
1. Marian Hossa GWG, 1A – He is one of the best two way players in the game, in my opinion. He had a phenomenal game tonight, and was especially dangerous shorthanded.
As an aside, why is it that Wings fans boo Hossa? I’m really curious about this. Post your opinions on it in the comment sections and we’ll see if we can drum up a good discussion here.